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Hiking Humanitarian walks through Great Bend
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"Have a spoonful of kindness with your coffee in the morning," says Kirk Sinclair, who is walking the American Discovery Trail across America to promote the humanitarian needs of housing, health and hunger. Having walked from the coast, he was in Great Bend on Wednesday and Thursday.

"Under natural conditions, we are kind to each other," said Sinclair. He is interviewing people and communities to find how people and communities are kind to their own.

He spoke of the community meals in Leadville, Colo. While some who attend are needy, the mayor and other community leaders also attend the meals, he said. Those who serve are expected to eat with those who have received.

"I try to emphasize volunteerism doing well," Sinclair said. With the wealth disparity that has arisen over the last 40 years increasing, there has been a decrease in the community and civic involvement, he said. "We need to look at doing things with each other. I’m collecting ideas on addressing needs."

Kirk said his inspiration came from a 1989 study by the National Service Corp., which measured people’s participation in community affairs. The study said that 13 percent of Americans were working together to solve their communities problems.

But that rate has dropped to 6 percent.

He theorized that people are naturally geared to be humanitarian, but civilization gets in the way. As a longtime humanitarian, Sinclair is speaking to Lion’s Clubs and churches along the way.

The American Discovery Trail stretches from coast to coast. It is the only non-motorized trail to cover the United States. Great Bend is along the trail.

Kirk and his wife Cindy, who is accompanying him on this journey, had hiked a combined 21,000 miles prior to starting out on this jaunt. The Norwalk, Conn. couple began the walk on May 25 at Point Reyes, Calif. and hopes to arrive in Delaware in May, 2012.

Although they trained for the hike, they have encountered a few surprises after more than 150 days on the trail. The biggest surprise was hiking through the deserts of Utah and Nevada in over 100 degrees for three straight weeks.

"No more backpacking in the desert in summer," said Kirk. The couple would stand behind signs for shade.

"Most pleasant has been coming out of Cripple Creek, Colo.," the humanitarian said. The couple started the day in a blizzard, and had lunch in cactus. "It was a beautiful review of our walk," said Kirk.

"Everyone said Kansas is the friendliest state," the hiker added. "It’s living up to its reputation."

Kirk has a PhD in Natural Resources from Cornell. After working in Geographic Information Systems, he is now spending his time as a singer/song writer. Cindy is a nurse.

Sinclair’s ideas on community involvement can be found at


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